Etymology: Middle English, to devour, fret, from Old English fretan to devour; akin to Old High German frezzan to devour, ezzan to eat — more at eat
Date: 12th century
a. to eat or gnaw into ; corrode; also fray
b. rub, chafe
c. to make by wearing away a substance <the stream fretted a channel> 2. to cause to suffer emotional strain ; vex 3. to pass (as time) in fretting 4. agitate, ripple intransitive verb 1. a. to eat into something b. to affect something as if by gnawing or biting ; grate 2. a. wear, corrode b. chafe c. fray 1 3. a. to become vexed or worried b. of running water to become agitated II. noun Date: 15th century 1. a. the action of wearing away ; erosion b. a worn or eroded spot 2. an agitation of mind ; irritation III. transitive verb (fretted; fretting) Etymology: Middle English, back-formation from fret, fretted adorned, interwoven, from Anglo-French fretté, past participle of fretter to tie, probably from Vulgar Latin *firmitare, from Latin firmus firm Date: 14th century 1. a. to decorate with interlaced designs b. to form a pattern upon 2. to enrich with embossed or pierced carved patterns IV. noun Date: 14th century 1. an ornamental network; especially a medieval metallic or jeweled net for a woman's headdress 2. an ornament or ornamental work often in relief consisting of small straight bars intersecting one another in right or oblique angles V. noun Etymology: perhaps from Middle French frete ferrule, from freter Date: circa 1500 one of a series of ridges fixed across the fingerboard of a stringed musical instrument (as a guitar) • fretless adjective • fretted adjective VI. transitive verb (fretted; fretting) Date: 1602 to press (the strings of a stringed instrument) against the frets
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.